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Radiation or not


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Hi There,

I posted a little over 5 years ago when my father, who was diagnosed with Lung Cancer had part of his lung removed,everyone was very supportive and gave some wonderful advice.

Unfortunately, his cancer has returned and I was wondering if someone could please give some extra advice.

He went for the usual yearly scans and went 5 years without any growths! We all thought perhaps the cancer wasn't going to come back but a scan a couple of months ago showed a growth in the same lung :(

The cancer is in the same lung and is slightly larger than the first one and tests show that it has spread to one of his lymph nodes.

Since he has severe arthritis he can't have Chemotherapy, the Drs have suggested going for Radiation (he enquired about having the rest of the lung removed but as he would only have 30% capacity left that is out of the question).

He is a bit confused now as the Dr at the Cancer Clinic suggests that nothing be done at the moment....just watch the tumour and if it grows have gentle Radiation therapy.

His Cancer Surgeon wants him to have the full Radiation Therapy (6 full doses).

We've heard from friends that Radiation can be worse than Chemo - one example..a friends Mother had full radiation and her lungs were damaged along with other organs. It turns out that the treatment killed her not the cancer.

He is going to talk about his options with his family Dr but was wondering what other Lung Cancer survivors thought.

Sorry for the long post but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading :)


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Cant have chemo because of Arthritis?????? I never heard that before. What about the possibility of Tarceva...

Otherwise go for the gentle radiation. I know Maximum curative can be rough so maybe lower doses might work..

The reason I question the arthritics comment is because some research shows that Etanercerpt, A Arthritis drug has improved things for some patients by helping the chemo drug!!!


From Ohio State University..

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Hi Angela. I think the side effects to radiation can be very different depending on the location of the radiation. I had 30 curative doses to my left lung and really hardly suffered at all. Others though, who have it close to the parts that "swallow" can suffer a bit more. Radiation can be quite effective though, so I would definitely pursue at least the gentle radiation. I think you could always pursue more later if that isn't helpful but you might want to ask about that as a future option before deciding. Best wishes on your decision.


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Angela, please go to cancergrace.org and ask Dr West for the his opinion. He is a recognized specialist in lung cancer and he or one of the other doctors there answer every question usually within 24 hrs free of charge. He cannot recommend specifically to a patient's situation but will ask questions and tell you what the standard of care would be. It is all free!

What a dilemna to be in when two cancer professionals give two different recommendations regarding the same treatment. It's a tough one. Keep us posted.

Judy in Key West

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I would definitely go for another opinion with two very differing opinions already in the ring. Radiation is cumulative, there is a "no more" point, and too much radiation will leave surgery out as an option. If this new tumor is larger than the original, I don't think I'd be secure in just waiting. Obviously, it's not going to go away on its own.

There are side effects to radiation, such as fatigue. There are side effects to chemo, but there are many options for chemo, as well. Since there are drugs that attack different parts of the cancer, it would seem to me that the side effects would be different, as well.

Best answer is get another medical opinion, or two...

Good luck,


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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the fast responses.

I've printed the answers for my father to read. He went to see his Dr yesterday and he suggested going for the full treatment.

My father has alot to think about and he thanks you all for your comments.

Will keep you posted!

Thanks again,


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